The German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG) invites all readers of the World Socialist Web Site to attend its closing rally this Saturday, September 16, to be held in connection with the PSG’s election campaign for the Berlin Senate.
Even prior to the counting of votes on Sunday it is clear that the participation of the PSG in these elections has been of considerable significance. The PSG was the only party standing in the election which not only criticised the policies of the Berlin Senate (a state government coalition of the Social Democratic Party, SPD and Left Party—PDS), but also put forward a positive alternative in the form of a political program which challenges the basis of capitalist politics and formulates a socialist perspective.
The two ruling parties in Berlin, the SPD and Left Party-PDS, conducted an election campaign in the capital city which can only be described as a provocative mockery of the electorate. They describe the program of budget cutbacks and savings which they introduced, and which has had catastrophic consequences for ordinary workers and their families, as the most important achievement of their tenure in office. At the same time, they have gone on the offensive against the conservative opposition parties and the Greens for their inability and unwillingness to carry out such “necessary social cuts.”
For their part, the conservative and right-wing parties are attempting to exploit the social crisis to rake in votes. The Election Alternative, Labour and Social Justice organization (WASG) criticises the policies of social cuts advocated by the Berlin Left Party-PDS, but is seeking to merge with the very same party on a national level. This contradictory and seemingly absurd stance is explained by the fact that the WASG is worried that the political and social consequences of the policies carried out by the Berlin Senate could sabotage the project of uniting the Left Party-PDS and WASG under conditions where the merger process has only just begun.
The PSG advances an entirely opposed standpoint and states in its election manifesto: “The Socialist Equality Party looks upon the machinations of the Left Party and the WASG with contempt. The decline of social reformism has objective causes that cannot be overcome by palace intrigue and tactical manoeuvres. All over the world, social democratic parties are following the same course. The conversion of the British Labour Party into a new edition of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party is only the clearest expression of this process. It is necessary to confront this fact and draw the appropriate political conclusions. Otherwise, social decline will find expression, by default, in the growth of extreme right-wing forces.”
At the same time, the PSG stresses the international character of its socialist perspective and makes clear that the Berlin election cannot be limited to strictly local issues, but has to be seen and dealt with in connection with profound changes in the international situation.
The recent Israeli military offensive in Lebanon represents a new stage of imperialist aggression, which began with the US-led war and unfolding military disaster in Iraq and was then followed by Israel’s brutal bombardment and attacks on the Lebanese and Palestinian populations. Now the German government has announced its intention of taking part in a European contingent of United Nations troops. The aim of the UN military operation is to secure control over the mineral and energy resources of the Middle East and Caspian Sea on behalf of the leading imperialist nations.
The PSG decisively rejects any intervention by German forces in Lebanon and stresses that the struggle against war is directly bound up with the struggle against unemployment and the destruction of the welfare state. The international perspectives of the PSG provide the basis for the election rally being held this Saturday.
PSG Election rally—Berlin-Mitte
Saturday, September 16, 16:00 hrs
David North, WSWS Editorial Board chairman
Chris Marsden, SEP national secretary (Britain)
Ulrich Rippert, PSG national secretary